around the start my senior year of high school, i began the meticulous but healing habit of keeping a journal. from time to time now, i leaf through those pages and laugh at how little i knew, or sit in awe as my past self speaks poignantly into my present. so little has changed, so much has changed.
an entry from fall 2015, spending break at a friend’s lovely mountain home in the carolinas.
her grandmother was just telling us how she and her husband move according to the seasons now — summers in the mountains, winters at the beach, flip flopping with the weather. It’s smart for sure. but I don’t think I want to live like that. seeking comfort, letting it adjust the course of my life in that way. spiritually, too. I would like to feel the fullness of the harsh and biting winter, be scorched and panting in dry and wavy summers. I want to see You through them all.
fall of 2016, I find myself one of 8 million people in London, constantly questioning my reason for being there. fickle and conflicted, wanting to succumb to the temptation to disconnect from flatmates and classmates and church folk around me, knowing that I would be returning stateside in just a few short months. fighting the discomfort of leaning fully into all that time and those people held.
I was leafing through that journal this week, looking for my election-night thoughts in particular, and found this entry in the mix. following bible study in Kings Cross, a few weeks after the election:
tonight @ KXC hub, looking at Laurie seated on the pillow I had just given her, soaking up Kez’s rambles on worship (full of many truths) — I found myself thankful for the gift of being in this place at this time set to love these people before me. all the laughs I shared with Esther at the start of the night, over Hannah Montana (her only knowledge of Nashville) and her mom’s pumpkin pie making song from Seattle… belly laughing like the best of friends and yet we’d only just met! what a gift to love and give myself fully to them around me this season — with no guarantee of ever seeng them again. Facebook, internet lingerings aside… truly seeing their flesh, hugging them, singing songs together, breaking bread once again…
until the Great Wedding Feast? until the worship that pours forth without distracting skinny jeans or harmonies to overthink or fear of other’s opinions to sit and shrink beneath but GOD GODSELF before us, the visible, visceral end of all our affections, the why to the worth of our worship.
and tonight, november of 2017. back in Nashville for eleven months now, I reflect on broken relationships and a semester filled with more ache and disappointment than I’ve known what to do with. I am convicted to not wish away this moment, these heavy months, though I want to. I am plagued with temptation to look ahead with lust and longing to a day that hurts less and completely checkout from what is here and happening all around and within me, now.
it makes sense to want less of the hurting. it is healthy and, I am learning, a sign of what we were made for. there is no shame in that wanting. but there is a something to be learned in the tension here.
oh, the joy! the immeasurable strength inevitable that comes from the glimpse of Zion! from looking ahead to the Great Wedding Feast, weepy in hopeful anticipation. but that day is not today. “Not yet, young heart.” someday soon. but not yet. there is still work to be done. belovedness to live into. truths to know, deeper still. this is the tension of living, this is the already and the not yet.
at church this fall we’ve slowly been working through the book of 1 Samuel. in particular i’ve found comfort in the almost manic-depressive spikes yung David experienced in those 30 odd years between his anointing as king and his actual taking of the throne of Israel. last week, we looked at David’s cave-dwelling days as recorded in chapters 18 and 19, where he lived with a target on his back from the reigning king, Saul. i’m not going to try and re-preach that sermon for you (if you care to hear it, you can listen here), but at one point our pastor noted two psalms that were written by Dave during these cave-dwelling days: psalm 57, psalm 142. i have clung to them tightly this week.
these have been days where all that comes when i try to pray are tears. where panic attacks have plagued me and anxious thoughts cloud my mind with doubt more real than all i’ve known to be true. when i have felt desperately, despairingly alone — and unable to see any semblance of falsehoods in those feelings.
for there is no one who acknowledges me;
refuge has failed me;
no one cares for my soul
who has been my refuge? my portion?
i can make no summerhome escape. and so my cry, amid a semester of shit, i echo back the michtam of David in the cave,
be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me!
for my soul trusts in You;
and in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge
until these calamities have passed by
my heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast.”